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Timber framed block of flats is a first for London


LONDON'S FIRST six-storey timber framed block of flats is nearing completion on a demanding riverside site at Woolwich.

Civil and structural engineer Tully De'Ath associate Andrew Picton said timber frame was chosen over more conventional alternatives because of site difficulties.

'Groundwater levels are high and the site is bounded by sheet pile flood defences tied back into the footprint of the site by a mesh of ground anchors.

'We went for a concrete buoyancy raft foundation solution, with timber frame construction to reduce foundation loads, ' said Picton.

Client for the £6M development is St James Homes, with the timber frame supplied by Bedford and Jennings.

The project embodies lessons learnt from the multistorey timber frame research project recently concluded at the BRE's Cardington facility. These include the use of timber framing to lift shafts and stairwells.

'On a multistorey timber frame building, long term shrinkage is significant, ' Picton explained. 'Differential movement between the frame and a conventional block walled core would have been too great, so a timber framed solution was the only option.'

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